January 25, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! It's good to know it’s not just us whiling away the hours on ChatGPT — Asia’s richest person, Gautam Adani, is reportedly “addicted” to the AI chatbot. He is also, as of today, accused of running a fraudulent empire. Today we’re exploring:

  • V8 dreams: Ferrari's brand is unmatched, but will it thrive in the age of electric?
  • Broken eggs: Eggflation shows no sign of cracking.
  • Bieber fever: The hitmaker is the latest artist to cash in on his back catalog.
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It has to sound like a Ferrari

Ferrari will build its first electric supercar by 2025 and, if a new tech patent from the Italian automaker is anything to go by, the new EV model will roar just like the real thing.

Ferrari’s foray into the world of EVs is a huge step for the supercar maker synonymous with speed. But speed alone isn’t enough — a fact clearly not lost on Ferrari execs, who will be hoping that their “reproduction device for the realization of a sound that can be associated with an electric motor” will help keep some of the musical magic that convinces Ferrari’s customers to part ways with $300k+ for a new car.


Although physically a car company, on paper Ferrari looks a lot more like a luxury brand than it does a manufacturer of machines — in its most recent fiscal year Ferrari made a 25% operating margin. That’s way ahead of the typical single-digit figure that mass-market producers like VW Group make, it’s more than Tesla and Mercedes-Benz Group managed, and it’s a lot closer to what the largest luxury company in the world, LVMH, produced.

Protecting the Ferrari brand, and the margins that go with it, is of course a priority for Ferrari bosses as they manage the switch to EVs. The company is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030, but chiefs think that the eco-friendlier models could actually be good for business too, with Ferrari's CEO predicting that fully-electric vehicles will open paths to even “more unique” vehicles... and, presumably, price tags to match.

Ferrari has always done things a little differently as a luxury jewel of the industry, but now that it's committed to going electric the company isn't holding back — execs predict that EVs will account for 5% of sales in 2025 and quickly rise to a whopping 40% of sales after just five years.

(Not) cheaper by the dozen

If you’re lucky enough to manage to find eggs in your local supermarket you'll notice they’re not quite as cheap as they used to be. Prices across all egg types are up 79% since Jan 2020, compared to 21% for all food and beverages in the same period. Indeed, across US cities, a dozen large Grade A eggs will now typically set you back over $4, more than double the $1.90 average from last Jan.

Flu season

A record-breaking avian flu outbreak, which has killed 58 million birds, is primarily responsible for the supply shortages, making our editor’s four-egg omelet a borderline luxury. The high death toll is in part because the FDA doesn’t take any chances. If one bird in a flock is infected then all remaining birds are also typically culled. Last time we saw eggflation close to this level was back in 1984 — avian flu was again the culprit.

Egg cartels

Some have blamed old-fashioned greed for the rises in prices, with one major farm group accusing suppliers of colluding, pointing to the uniformity of price rises as evidence that eggflation isn't just down to natural causes.

The soaring prices in the US have caught the attention of egg-arbitrageurs looking to buy eggs in Mexico and sell them in the US. In fact, US border officials have seen a 108% spike in egg smuggling busts, which come with a fine of up to $10,000.

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Buy rights

Justin Bieber has become the latest in an ever-growing line of top artists to cash in on their back catalog, selling his share of his publishing rights and songwriting royalties for just over $200 million.

The hitmaker behind imaginatively-titled modern classics like “Baby” and “Sorry” signed the deal with Hipgnosis, the Blackstone-backed song buyer that acquired the rights to tunes from Justin Timberlake, Nile Rodgers, and Leonard Cohen last year.

Staying power

Bieber’s popularity and relevance today, is unquestionable. His 71m monthly listeners are currently enough to place him 6th on the list of Spotify's most widely listened-to artists, edging him ahead of mega-stars like Rihanna (7th), Drake (9th), Billie Eilish (27th) and Adele (40th).

With 8 number-one singles on the Billboard top 100 and 8 number-one albums too, Hipgnosis’ $200 million for everything the singer recorded before 2022 is based on a successful track record. Despite that success, Bieber — who burst onto the music scene at just 15 — is seen as a slightly riskier investment than someone like Bruce Springsteen, who sold his rights for a whopping $500 million 2 years ago. Any artist with a strong back catalog and proven staying power for 5+ years might be wondering what they could cash out for.

More Data

• A research paper titled "Would Chat GPT3 Get a Wharton MBA?” concluded yes, with the bot scoring between B- and B on the exam.

• Remote working has saved workers 72 minutes a day, new study finds.

• New passport rankings are out, the best one gets you to 181 countries visa-free and the worst to only 39 destinations — find out how yours ranks.


• Visualizing how intertwined corporate power is via the intricately overlapping boardrooms.

• Where have all the gridlines gone? The oldest method of city planning is falling out of fashion.

Off the charts: Which merger — that would have created a global media empire spanning TV, publishing and more — was called off this week? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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